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Should You Get a Heart Rate Monitor?

You've heard me talking about them and you've probably seen them on people at the gym: Heart Rate Monitors. Duh, duh dom.

I know they can seem scary and you may be thinking my heart is fine, I don't need to monitor it. True as that may be, heart rate monitors are used as a training tool more than a heart health monitoring device. They are not only for people with known heart conditions, everyone can benefit from wearing a heart rate monitor but some people will benefit more than others.

OK, so is it right for you? If you've ever thought one (or more) of the following, then I'd say you'd benefit from a heart rate monitor:

  • "I think I am getting a great workout, though I don't seem to be breaking a sweat."
  • "How do I know if I am really working out?"
  • "When I try and take my pulse, I often feel like I miscount or miss a beat."
  • "I want to try to use a variety of machines, but I am worried that I am not going to know if I am getting an effective workout from machine to machine."
  • "Sometimes I think my heart is going to pop out of my chest because it is beating so fast -- How do I know if it's beating too fast?"
  • "I have a really hard time holding on to those sensors on the machine while I am exercising and they never seem to really work anyway."
  • "I would like to shorten my workouts once a week by training really hard for a shorter period of time, but I am not sure how I will know if I am accomplishing this."
  • "I love this beginner group class I have been taking for a few months now, but should I move onto the intermediate level?"
  • "How do I know if I am warming-up or cooling-down?"

A heart rate monitor really takes the guessing out of working out. All you have to do is know where you would like your target heart rate to be and keep on keeping out until it gets there. Once you get there, keep it there. Can't get it there, work harder. Simple, eh? Not sure what your target heart rate should be? Check out Fit's Calculator to find out. There are lots of great heart rate monitors out there, but a good one to start is the Polar SF3.

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